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November 2014 Retro Gaming Article


November 23, 2014 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Nintendo's Amiibos arrived on retail shelves Nov. 21, so I went to take a look at the mall

Nintendo's Amiibo logo When the new Atari, Colecovision and Intellivision Flashbacks arrived on the shelves at my local Toys R Us, there was a curious void in the neighboring shelving with an Amiibo poster slapped up in that space. It seemed odd that they were establishing space for a product that was 4 weeks from arrival, but I checked in now and then to see what updates (if any) might appear.

It wasn't like the Wii U display that sat as an empty shell for several weeks prior to it's launch date. Amiibos arrived on November 21, 2014 and I was on the scene a day later. Would they be sold out? Both Best Buy and Toys R Us had stocked shelves of Amiibos! I have to say they look good. I dig the poses and expressions. Well done!

Overcoming Activision

Activision has trained us to have a fairly rigid view on how physical figures work with video games... and Disney reinforced that notion. So, what is an Amiibo?

Nintendo's Donkey Kong Amiibo Like Activision's Skylanders, Amiibos are similar figures that integrate with any game that is coded to work with them. We wouldn't likely want to see Skylanders romping around in other games, but Nintendo IPs are accustomed to some cross-over. Games like Mario Party, Smash Bros, and Mario Kart gather up Nintendo characters into a single game.

So just as we expect to see Skylanders within the Skylands, we don't balk when Princess Peach is kicking ass in Smash Bros. For this reason, Amiibos can bring characters into varying titles as easily as they can add customization to a character or act as a power-up.

While Disney chose to follow Activision's lead, Amiibos can have games designed specifically for them or enter into games that allow their inclusion.

The popularity of video game figures and portals has enabled enough cost reduction to bring the concept to the familiar all-in-one units. Jaks Pacific has released the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Hero Portal game which is based on a similar premise.

It should be interesting to see where these technologies go in the next few years. Nintendo seems off to a good start in brining a next-gen feel to video game figures. The Wii U game pad has RFID built into it, so it supports Amiibos without any additional hardware. The 2DS/3DS will get some form of Amiibo compliance in early 2015.

Nintendo's Amiibo display at Toys R Us Nintendo's Amiibo display at Toys R Us.
Nintendo's Amiibo display at Toys R Us Nintendo's Amiibo display at Toys R Us. And a Domo photo-bomb version.

My Amiibo scenario wasn't working out too well. Toxie just wouldn't appear in any of my Atari 2600 or NES games on my Caanoo.

The Toxic Avanger on a Caanoo handheld My Amiibo isn't working. What am I doing Wrong? -- The Toxic Avenger on a Cannoo handheld.

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